A year of extremes, 1998 challenged BV's winemakers as perhaps no other recent vintage has, and which lasted until mid-November. Cool spring weather with some rain retarded bud growth by a month, causing mildew pressure. But rapid and efficient vineyard treatments minimized damage. June was cool and damp, contributing to poor bloom and set, and lower yields. July was also cooler, though sunny. Finally in August, the temperatures rose. A fine Indian summer through late October allowed even late ripening varieties like Cabernet to fully ripen. In 1998, all of our efforts in the field yielded good to excellent results across a wide range of varieties.
All of our Reserve-level Cabernet-based wines are vinified in a similar manner. Carefully selected grapes are gently crushed, with a portion receiving a two day cold soak prior to the commencement of fermentation. The juice is then fermented in open-top fermenters at an average juice temperature of 80-85Âº F. for 7-10 days. About 20% is punched down by pneumatic means, and the balance via pumpover , 2-3 times a day. At dryness, the various lots are pressed off into tanks for a brief settling, then put directly in small oak barrels where malolactic fermentation was takes place. The wines only receive two rackings prior to bottling.
Dark ruby in color, the 1998 Tapestry's aromas evoke scents of black cherry, herbs, vanilla-oak and some black pepper. Medium-full bodied, the wine's fruit flavors are at the forefront; cherry and blackcurrant, followed by nuances of licorice, dark chocolate and peppercorn. Fleshy yet backed by firm, ripe tannins, the finish shows some torrefaction notes from the oak now, but should evolve gracefully with 4-7 years in the bottle.
Wine EnthusiastDark and dramtically scented, with a perfume of superbly ripe cassis and plush, smoky oak, it's a pleasure to inhale. In the mouth, it drinks round and supple, with real flair. The tannins are exquisite, the acidity soft but supportive. The one problem is a certain thinness in the middle palate, probably a fault of the vintage. Drink now, or soon.
Wine SpectatorCedary, with a slight musty cement edge to the earthy currant, olive and cedary oak flavors. Fails to inspire. Drink now through 2005.